Police have increased patrols around schools in areas around Whangārei where children, including an 8-year-old boy, have been approached by strangers and offered rides in the past week.

Investigations are continuing into the latest cases and police have urged the public to immediately report suspicious approaches made to any child in future.

The police action follows at least three reports of strangers trying to lure children, including an 8-year-old boy, into cars in Whangārei over the past week.

Last Friday, a man in a car on Manse St near Whangārei Girls' High School was seen acting suspiciously and allegedly approached a teenage girl and asked if she wanted a ride.


Police immediately attended and spoke with the driver of the vehicle.

No charges have been laid as yet.

On Monday, a 13-year-old girl waiting for the school bus on Monday morning was approached by a man who offered to drop her to school.

In the third incident, an 8-year-old boy walking home on Wednesday afternoon was asked by a man to get in a car but he ran home and informed his mother, who called police.

Both incidents on Monday and Wednesday happened in Tikipunga.

Acting Senior Sergeant Christian Stainton said such matters were treated very seriously.

"We are conducting area inquiries and also taking a proactive approach which includes an increased police presence of frontline staff in the area to ensure police have high visibility around schools in the area.

"All matters are thoroughly investigated and police conduct sensitive interviewing techniques and work diligently to establish if there is any evidence of criminal intent.


"It can be found in some cases that there is no sinister intent to the reports after thorough investigation," Stainton said.

Stranger danger was reiterated to school principals by Pat Newman during the Te Tai Tokerau Principals' Association conference in Waitangi today.

Pat Newman says it doesn't hurt to reinforce the
Pat Newman says it doesn't hurt to reinforce the "stranger danger" message. Photo / John Stone

Newman, who is the association president, was unaware of the latest cases of stranger danger but said past messages were working because children were ignoring requests to get into cars.

"But it doesn't hurt to reinforce the same message. The other thing is a lot of schools don't release children unless they have written approval from parents," he said.

In late 2016, a man tried to force a 10-year-old boy into a car in Whau Valley while the boy was walking home after school with other children.

The boy managed to escape and the children fled and hid in nearby bushes.

The same year, two pupils from Morningside School and two from Whangārei Primary School accepted rides home from strangers.

Nothing untoward happened but the school reiterated the stranger danger message after the two incidents.